Two cats are confirmed dead and at least 18 unaccounted for after a blaze ripped through a cattery, firefighters say.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue service battled the fire at the Pinetrees cattery in Stafford Road, Cannock, at 5.30am.
A spokesman confirmed the brigade was not treating the fire as suspicious and said several of the missing cats might have escaped unharmed.
Station manager Dermot Hogan said: "Firefighters arrived and found the building well alight. The cattery owners stated that there had been over 20 cats in the cattery, however some are believed to have escaped from the building after the fire broke out.
"The building has been destroyed as it was predominately a wooden structure and we've been unable to confirm so far how many cats have died in the fire.
"A fire investigation was carried out to establish how the fire started and we believe an electrical fault within one of the pens is to blame."
The owner of the cattery spoke of her devastation.
Mrs Lynn Durnell said: "We've contacted those involved. It's very hard. Four of the cats that died belonged to us. I'm devastated."
The site's guestbook had postings of sympathy.
Claire Wiltshire wrote: "Devastating news about the fire. We have been using Pinetrees for a number of years now, and we was always more than happy with the treatment and care our pets were given. Our thoughts are with all that have been affected."